What do you get with Google domains?

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pros and cons (+ manual)
If you are looking for a service provider to help you register a domain name, Google Domains is one of the best services on the market. In this review, we’re going to tell you why we recommend Google Domains – we cover everything they have to offer. Here’s what that means:

What is Google Domains?
Google Domains is a service that helps you with domain registration. Google created this service in January 2015.

Google Domains helps you register the domain name you use for your WordPress site (or any other website).

The difference with other popular service providers in this area is: Google Domains offers no hosting. This means that you have to arrange the hosting separately. For example, you could purchase a domain name from Google Domains and link it to Kinsta for hosting.

Google Domains also makes it easy when it comes to using other Google services, such as G-suite, Google Search Consolee.d. And you can access Google Domains by simply using the same Google account that you use for other services.

Even though Google Domains has been on the air since 2015, it’s still technically in the beta phase.

Review of Google Domains features
* Registering new domains
* Retrieval of existing domains registered elsewhere
* Free privacy protection upon purchase
* DNS from Google itself
* Clear control panel that matches other Google services
* Part of your existing Google Account, no separate sign-up – possibility of two-step verification
* Forwarding email (up to 100 aliases).
* Forwarding domain and subdomain
* Built-in integrations/verification with other harvesting services

Frequently asked questions about Google Domains
Can you use Google Domains together with WordPress?
Yes, you can! You still need WordPress hosting on which your site runs, but Google Domains makes it easy to link your domain to any WordPress host (including Kinsta).

We even have instructions on how to link your domain to Kinsta, a process that works flawlessly for Google Domains.

Is Google Domains a host?
No. Unlike many other domain registrars, Google Domains doesn’t offer any additional website hosting service (except for Google Sites, which is rather limited).

You will have to purchase hosting separately if you want to start a website. However, you can use the interface of Google Domains to link your domain to the chosen hosting service.

Does Google Domains work for email?
Yes, Google Domains is a great choice when it comes to your own custom email address. By the way, do you need to find someone’s email address? Here are a few solid tricks.

There are two ways to use email with Google Domains:

* Built-in email forwarding feature: free, creates up to 100 email aliases and forwards them to your existing accounts. You can send emails from these aliases using Gmail or another
* Email hosting with G Suite – from $6/month – you can easily integrate with Google G Suite v.w.b. hosted email, 30 GB storage, etc. G Suite is recommended by Kinsta as the email hosting solution.

Usage advantages of Google Domains
Well-built, interface familiar and single sign-on
Google Domains is just like any other Google service, in that sense:

* It uses your existing Google user account
* Control panel (dashboard) to match Google styling

That has two enormous advantages:

Firstly, you don’t have to create a new account, because you almost certainly already have a Google Account. Just make sure you secure your account with a strong password and two-factor verification, because this will create a Single Point of Failure.

Secondly, you’ll quickly get to grips with the interface because it feels like other tools you might already be using, e.g. Google Analytics.

Competitive transparent pricing
Google Domains is not always the cheapest option (more on that later), but it has the most transparent prices. And it’s cheaper than the competition when it comes to a lot of good domain extensions in the market.

With Google Domains, you know exactly what the domain name will cost, both now and in the future. In other words, the price you pay to register your domain name is the same as the price you pay when you renew your domain name.

Some other domain registrars bring you in with attractive discounts in the first year and then come up with a higher one. At GoDaddy, for example, you pay $11.99 ivory for a .com domain name in the first year, but then $17.99. Google Domains, on the other hand, remains $12 in both cases.

 

Free privacy protection
When you register a domain name, you must provide personal information, such as your address and phone number.

This information is publicly available in the Whois registration, which exposes you to spam and other bored/aggressive hassles.

Privacy protection puts an end to this by hiding your information behind more general information from Google itself.

Many domain registrars split you up to $10 /year in the stomach for privacy protection.

With Google Domains, fortunately, that’s included in the price of purchase.

Google driven DNS
Domain Name System, or DNS for short, links your domain name to your web server. That’s why it’s also called “the phone book of the internet”.

Every domain registrar has its own DNS service, just like many hosts have.

But now it comes:

Not all DNSs are made out of the same wood. And the DNS you use does affect your page load times.

With Google Domains you get Google Cloud DNS in no time. This is supported by Google’s own infrastructure. This assures you of top-notch speeds at no additional cost.

By the way: if you host at Kinsta, premium DNS via Amazon Route 53 is included, which is also a great option.

Two-factor authentication to protect your account
It is essential that you have your account protected with your domain registrar to keep out malicious guests.

With Google Domains, it’s a piece of cake because you have access to all Google’s two-factor authentication options. You can use text messages, smartphone apps, physical keys, and more.

Forwarding email
If you want to use your own custom email address (such as ), Google Domains allows you to create up to 100 aliases that you can have delivered to your existing email account, such as Gmail.

You can also easily link Google Domains to Google G Suite for email hosting. For G Suite, however, you do have to pay extra.

Automatic verification by other Google products
If you run a website, chances are that sooner or later you will have to have your site verified with Google products.

The most common scenario is to have your site verified by Google Search Console. But there are others, like Google App Engine, Analytics, Cloud Run, etc.

When you place your domain with Google Domains, Google can automatically verify your domain for those services, saving you time and effort.

Usage disadvantages of Google Domains
You can find cheaper alternatives
Even though the transparent prices of Google Domains are very competitive, you can still get cheaper for some domain extensions – depending on the extension in question. Google Domains is one of the cheapest options when it comes to .org domains, but on the pricey side when it comes to .io domains.

Let’s take a look at a few examples, so you can see how Google Domains compares:

.com domains:

* Google Domains – $12
* Namecheap – $10.98 ($8.88 in 1 st year)
* GoDaddy – $17.99 ($11.99 in 1 st year)
* com – $9.99 (with hefty surcharge for privacy protection)

.org domains:

* Google Domains – $12
* Namecheap – $12.98 ($9.98 in 1 st year)
* GoDaddy – $20.99 ($9.99 in 1 st year)
* com – $14.99

.io domains:

* Google Domains – $60
* Namecheap – $32.88 ($25.88 in 1 st year)
* GoDaddy – $59.99 ($44.99 in 1 st year)
* com – $49.99

Fewer smaller extensions
Google Domains has more than 100 domain extensions, including the most common ones. However, other domain registrars have more.

Namecheap, for example, offers more than 400 extensions.

Does it matter? For most people it doesn’t, because the majority buys a basic domain extension (which Google Domains supports).

But if you’re looking for “something special”, like for instance a .vodka domain name, you might have to go out shopping. Unfortunately, this also applies to the .nlen .be extensions, for which you can’t (yet) go to Google.

Google Domains compared to the competition
How does Google Domains compare to other common domain registrars? To find out, we take a closer look at two of the most popular ones: GoDaddyen Namecheap.

Google Domains compared to GoDaddy
If you have to make a choice between Google Domains and GoDaddy, Google Domains stands out quite favourably.

As far as the most common domain extensions are concerned, Google Domains is significantly cheaper than GoDaddy. Where GoDaddy outshines the other when it comes to cheaper prices in the 1 st year for certain extensions, the prices afterwards are considerably higher than with Google Domains.

On top of that, GoDaddy charges $9.99/year extra for privacy protection, while at Google Domains it’s free.

All in all, there are few reasons to prefer GoDaddy over Google Domains when it comes to domain registration.

Google Domains compared to Namecheap
If you have to make a choice between Google Domains and Namecheap, it becomes more difficult.

Namecheap offers a competitive service with:

* Standard prices that relate to those of Google Domains, while they also give a nice discount in the 1 st year
* Free domain privacy, just like Google Domains
* An additional hosting service (if you want one)
* A larger selection of domain extensions

Google Domains of course has everything, when it comes to integration with other Google services and Google DNS for example, but all in all the choice between Namecheap or Google Domains makes little difference.

In fact, when we did a sample of our Twitter followers, about their favorite registrars, Namecheap won it from Google Domains:

Kinsta’s survey of favorite registrars

How to create a domain on Google Domains
Are you ready to buy your first domain at Google Domains? That’s how you do it:

1. Choose your domain
First you go to Google Domains and search for the domain you want to buy:

Search your domain on Google Domains

Google will then show you a list of available domain extensions. If all goes well, you should see a green check mark next to your desired domain name, which means it is still free. Click on the shopping cart icon so that it falls into your cart:

Check domain availability

If your domain name is not available, please choose another one. Or you could also choose another domain extension.

2. Check and buy your domain name
As soon as you have your domain name in your cart, you can proceed to the checkout.

Google Domains gives you a list of what you have in your cart, along with two default options:

* Privacy protection: this completely free service keeps your personal information private. We recommend that you maintain this service.
* Automatic renewal: it ensures that you don’t accidentally forget it and lose your domain. Of course, you need to know this for yourself, but we recommend that you also keep it.

Once you’re done with your choices, click on Check out:

Choose extensions

On the page where you check out, you need to fill in your contact details. But remember that no one will see them, as long as you don’t turn off the free privacy policy.

Fill in contact details

Then fill in your payment details to complete your purchase:

Fill in your payment details

3. Refer your domain to your host
As soon as you have completed the purchase, Google Domains will open the dashboard of your domain:

The dashboard of Google Domains

To assign your domain name to a host (e.g. Kinsta), go to the DNS tab.

There you can do one of the following things:

* Change your name servers to the name servers of your host.
* Add source records to your Google name servers

How to change the name servers of Google Domains

4. Setting up e-mail forwarding (optional)
If you want to use the email forwarding function of Google Domains (rather than setting up your email via your host or a service like G Suite), go to the Email tab and click on Add email alias:

How to create email aliases on Google Domains

How to transfer a domain name to Google Domains
If you have placed your domain with another domain registrar, you can still place your domain with Google Domains.

That process is quite simple, but you will also have to do a few actions at the registrar where your domain name is currently hosted.

To start, open the Google Domains dashboard and click on the Transfer tab. Then enter the domain name you want to transfer:

Enter the domain name you want to transfer.

Google Domains flawlessly searches where your domain name currently has its home and provides you with a wizard to guide you through the whole process:

The step-by-step transfer wizard from Google Domains

Once you’ve completed the transfer, you can manage your domain name as if it had always been hosted by Google Domains.

Want a new domain? Read the review on Google Domains and see how it relates to the competition 🌐🆚 Click to Tweet

Summary
Google Domains is definitely one of the best places to have a domain name.

Google Domains offers transparent, competitive prices for the most common domain extensions. They can be high for certain extensions – such as .io – but are about the same as or lower than the competition for extensions such as .com and .org.

It offers a well-designed interface – not to mention nice features like free privacy protection, Google DNS, automatic Google Search Console authentication and strong two-factor authentication.

 

 

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